Water Situation in Chennai

Water Water Everywhere Not A Drop To Drink

Chennai has had a very close relationship with water. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…. I mean Elections have been won over issues related to water.

Lined with Beaches, including one of the World’s Longest Beaches in the World – Marina Beach and dotted with multiple lakes and Marsh Lands.

Ennore Rocks
Red Hills Water Reservoir

And yet come summer and somehow all the water bodies dry out and lo and behold we have water shortage. Rain water harvesting implemented on a wide scale many years ago has reduced the water shortage by a great extent but the population is ever increasing with limited water bodies which are heavily dependent on the annual rains.

In the last few years however.. I think god decided to make up for all the previous dry years….

The Big Flood:

In 2015 we had weeks and weeks of non stop rain, which probably evoked a Noah in some people. The entire city was submerged. Homes and Offices Flooded.
Shortage of Food..
Shortage of Water (even though we were surrounded by it)
Shortage of shelter
Shortage of Electricity
No Phone Signal

The entire city had come to a standstill.. Soon mobiles, charging banks and wifi became the things that people were most sorting out, to reach their loved ones, request help etc.. With the mobile networks down, social media was the only way people were able to get in touch with their friends, family and to coordinate the rescue and relief efforts.


Well at least we didn’t have water shortage that year… But it had come at a huge cost.

The Next year in 2016 every body was very nervous and tentative during the monsoon season… Were we going to get a repeat of the previous year?

Well No….. It was worse…

The Storm:

There wasn’t much flooding that year but we got hit by cyclones…. one after the other causing massive damage. The city recovered a bit faster this time though… Both times a lot a lives were lost but it ended up bringing us closer as a city.

City after Vardha came visiting

The Tsunami:

However this wasn’t the first time we as a city had felt the impact of a water related disaster. For in 2004, a day after Christmas, the earthquake that had hit the Indonesian island had created a Tsunami so powerful that it hit the shores of our entire state of Tamil Nadu. While the damage was restricted to the coastal region, the wide and long Marina beach was stripped to a thin strip of sand few feet wide..

While compared to the cyclones, fewer lives were lost, it left whole communities of Fishermen without homes, forcing them to relocate.

Marina Beach During the Tsunami

Currently we are in a tussle with our neighboring state over the Cauvery River sharing issue. The very same state from where we received the first help when all other disasters had struck us.

This has been our love and hate relationship with water. Its brought us closer as a city…

Let’s just say while we aren’t a dry state 😉 , there is always a bit of a shortage when it comes to getting the right kind of water. (btw alcohol is called tanni = water, which we don’t have a good supply of )

If you liked this article please do read my poem about water.. Dreams Of Water

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  1. sunshinysa

    …. Apologies, as I was saying, we have water rations here on South Africa and value our water. Our Cape Town was hit with severe water rations and it was difficult for the locals.

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